Say you have a brother-in-law (a.k.a. bother-in-law) and he is a web developer and he develops almost exclusively for Microsoft products. You know, the type that develops those web pages at work that are only viewable in Internet Explorer because they are not even close to being W3C compliant. What is the best way to get him to see the light and switch to Firefox? I’m not sure this is the best way to present the argument, but here are some thoughts:
Advantages of the browser itself:
- Tabbed browsing – once you start using tabs that open with a center mouse button click, you can’t stand using IE, right clicking, and selecting “open link in new window”. IE7 has tabs, but too little to late, and they are not a configurable (especially with the Tab Pref plugin)
- Search while you type – start typing a phrase and Firefox auto-searches the page. By default, it searches link text only, but it can be switched to search all text through the Options menu. Once you go back to IE and realize you have to hit CTRL+F before using search, you become even more frustrated
- The favored browser of Google – the first third party application to be featured on their home page (with the Google tool bar extension, of course). If Google likes it, it must be great, right?
- Standards-based, so it follows the design standards of governing bodies
- Extensions, extensions, extensions
Say Firefox doesn’t behave exactly the way you want it to. Your brother-in-law is probably used to that, seeing as he is using five-year-old browser technology, so he’s not into improvements. However, you could probably show him something to get him interested because there is probably something he doesn’t like about his browsing experience and there is probably a plug-in to fix that. Here are some links to lists of extensions:
- The most popular extensions on the official Firefox extension page
- Security extensions
- 25 Extensions you didn’t know you needed
- List of Extensions recommended by Google engineer
- List of almost-necessary extensions
- Download.com extension lists: Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, User Favorites
- Carlton Bale’s personal list of extensions
For web developers:
Your brother-in-law is a web developer after all. How about a list of the enhancements that make it easier to develop. Here are a few:
- Basic Web Development Search extension – A basic web developer extension that allows a user to search the PHP function list, mySQL developer database, freshmeat, and the Java API. Also comes with session destroyer. Just what a Microsoft developer needs help with.
- Web Developer extension: Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools (disable functions, CSS, Forms, etc.)
- View Cookies extension: It adds a tab to the Page Info dialog box, which shows the cookies of the current webpage. Great if you’re brother-in-law is using cookies on the site he develops
- ColorZilla extension: Since your brother-in-law copies all his designs from everyone else, this extension will help him quickly figure out the color being used within any aspect of the to-be-copied page.
- HTML Validator extension: Since he can’t write valid code, this handy HTML Validator will come in handy to point-out the mistakes.
- View formatted source extension – To help with the countless hours of debugging, this plugin displays formatted and color-coded source and optional CSS information for each element.
- List of 9 must have extensions for web developers
- The official extensions pages list many more besides these
Look cool even if you are running IE:
IE Tab extension: Your brother-in-law needs a status upgrade and using a 5-year-old browser doesn’t help. Even if he can’t let go of IE, he can at least make people think he has by running IE inside of Firefox. With this extension, he can still easily open links in IE tabs within Firefox. Just right-click the link and select “IE Tab”.
Is your brother-in-law still not convinced? Well, there is probably no hope for him. Unless maybe he gets a new car and then realizes how great new and improved models/versions can be.